/* */ Helpful hints and tips about auto towing, car repairs and car careAdrian Towing
Affordable Towing & Auto Repair

Affordable Towing and Auto Repair

958 E. Beecher St.

Adrian, MI 49221

(Corner of Treat Hwy. and Beecher St.)

517-263-5316

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Plan Ahead for Tow Truck Service Coverage

Woman needing tow truck serviceThinking about a tow truck service call is usually the last thing from someone’s mind when they are planning a trip, or even just during regular drives around town. But, unfortunately, needing a tow truck is not something that can be scheduled, like changing the oil or rotating the tires.

Drivers typically need a towing service when the car has broken down or can’t start, or if there’s been an automobile accident. In a normal household budget, this would be considered an emergency expense that should be planned for – and hopefully not needed.

Here are some things to remember ahead of time, to take the stress out of the situation should it ever happen.

Find out what typical towing charges are in your area, and for your type of vehicle, and work that into your household budget expenses. Set money aside for two or three tows, and then you’ve got funds available should the need ever arise.

Another alternative is to research your car insurance policy, because it might include some type of towing service in the coverage. Normally, there are limitations on the type of tow needed and the distance the car will be towed, so it’s good to know that in advance also.

Also, joining a membership club that offers towing as a member benefit is another popular choice. The monthly or annual fee for AAA of Michigan, as an example, can usually be offset by the member discounts that are given at local restaurants, hotels, and car repair shops. Just like with your car insurance, you need to know the particular coverages for the plan you subscribe to, because there can be different levels of member benefits.

Plan to keep a few critical things in your vehicle, in case you ever break down. An emergency kit with first aid supplies will be helpful if there’s been an accident, until qualified medical care arrives. Car emergency kits can also contain flares, warning triangles, and other items to mark that you’ve broken down. Extra bottles of water and some non-perishable snacks might come in handy if you have to wait a short time for the tow truck to arrive.

Finally, many people have mobile phones now, and searching for a tow truck in the city you are stranded should bring up a few providers to call. Keep in mind that car insurance policies and auto club memberships may require that you use specific towing companies in order to be reimbursed for the towing expense.

A little planning ahead of time will make the need for a tow truck service a little less stressful, if it ever happens to you or a family member.

Auto Maintenance Makes Summer Vacations Less Stressful

Auto Maintenance and Overheated EngineVacation time – some of the best family memories happen during summer vacation and taking road trips together. Remember all the Are we there yet questions and the different activities you planned to ward off boredom during the final hours? The drive is often worth the experience, especially if you’ve planned a longer trip and can see more of the countryside while driving to your destination.

An important part of planning summer vacations is taking care of your vehicle before you leave. Good auto maintenance prior to a road trip can ensure safer travels and protection from breakdowns. Here are some areas to pay attention to, especially the tires, the engine components, and the battery.

Proper tire maintenance is critical for a road trip, especially a long one. Correct tire inflation can have an impact on gas mileage. If tires aren’t inflated according to specified psi’s then you could also risk a blowout. Blowouts can also happen because the tires are getting worn out. Take time to measure the tread to be sure it’s still within safe limits; and look for uneven spots where the tread is worn thin. Tire balance and alignment can make a huge different in the comfort of the ride, so check when the last time this was performed, and schedule it as maintenance before you leave for your trip.

A car’s engine is made up of many parts, and there are a lot of them that you can’t do anything with yourself – it takes a qualified mechanic to break down an engine for repairs. However, you can check or test a few things under the hood to see if they are safe for a vacation drive.

The belts in the engine area help connect systems together, and if there is one belt that is worn or frayed, it can bog down the overall performance of the entire engine. Examine belts for cracks, and replace them if any are seen.

Fluid levels are important, especially coolant levels during hot summer driving. Make sure you have the proper mix of coolant for your vehicle, and the levels are topped off to the recommended amounts. While you’re checking fluid levels, make sure the washer fluid reservoir is full, and now would be a good time to check the wiper blades to be sure they aren’t worn or cracked.

If the battery under your hood isn’t performing, it can put a damper on summertime driving. Most people think that batteries take a beating during cold winter months, but summer temperatures can also challenge the battery. Scrub the battery terminal connections to remove possible corrosion. Your auto mechanic can tell you how strong the charge is in the battery, and most batteries have a recommended life span before replacement is needed.

Planning a summer vacation is fun; just remember to plan time for auto maintenance before your trip to avoid delays during the trip!

DIY Auto Repair vs Hiring Qualified Car Mechanics

DIY Auto Repair or Qualified MechanicKeeping your car in running order requires some do-it-yourself tasks and maintenance that might seem like regular upkeep, but knowing when to have a qualified auto repair mechanic look at your car can save thousands of dollars later, if you’ve ignored potential do-it-yourself problems.

The owner’s manual that came with the car really does have useful information, so pay attention to the suggested schedule of preventative maintenance and necessary repairs.

Older cars need special care (don’t we all?) and often the older cars have outdated systems that only a qualified mechanic will know how to handle. The mechanics will have resources for each make, model and year of vehicle, and can troubleshoot a problem faster than a DIY book for Dummies.

Safety is a big factor in DIY car repairs, and is better left to the professional mechanic’s shop to worry about. Blocking up the wheels while trying to work under the car is an invitation to disaster; many people have been crushed to death because the car slipped and fell on them while they were on the ground, working underneath an unstable homemade hoist.

Using the right tools is also important when it comes to car repairs. Mechanics have just about every size and type of wrench or tool available at their fingertips – and because they use the right size of tools, they don’t risk losing fingertips that might be pinched in the wrong places. DIY tasks like changing the oil even require special wrenches, and if you’re not into buying a lot of new tools to maintain your car, it’s better to let the pros take care of those things.

Value your time – while it can be said that some auto repairs take longer than others, a mechanic has performed those tasks over and over, and can usually predict how long the car will be unavailable. DIY repairs often take longer than anticipated, especially if you find yourself having to order parts that you didn’t plan for in advance and the car is laying in pieces until the new part arrives.

Mechanics are trained for maintenance and repairs on just about every type of car, and can offer good advice on the upkeep of your vehicle. Find a good mechanic you can trust, and stick with him – your auto repairs will be done correctly, with little stress on your part.

Is Your Car Begging for a Transmission Repair?

Auto Transmission Repair Adrian MIAs your car gets older, you may notice that it’s begging for certain auto repairs; and many can’t be ignored, especially the need to repair a transmission. But, car owners often don’t recognize the warning signals of transmission failure, and the repair becomes quite expensive if the signals aren’t noticed quickly. Here are some tips to watch for to see if the car’s transmission is begging for service.

Leaking fluid – if your engine is leaking pink, oily-looking fluid, pay attention to this warning signal. Transmission fluid is important, and you could risk damaging the engine if there isn’t enough, or if the fluid reservoir runs dry. A hot smell in the engine area could mean bigger problems, The car’s transmission helps many other systems in the car operate correctly, so when you see leaking fluid, get your car to a qualified auto repair shop as soon as possible.

Does your car have the shakes? When you’re driving and notice the whole car feeling like it’s wiggling in its shoes, this is a potential warning of transmission trouble. Eventually, the shakes develop into more than just wiggles, and the car will be hard to manage or control. Visit your auto repair shop as soon as possible.

Fighting a gear shift – if you car won’t shift gears as quickly as it used to, you could first check the transmission fluid level, but it could also mean an internal seal malfunction. Your car mechanic will know how to handle this efficiently.

As you approach transmission failure, your car will become more difficult to handle. Don’t ignore the warning signs, because a delayed reaction to these can result in higher auto repair bills. A transmission repair requires skill and knowledge, and should be given to your trusted auto mechanic to handle.

Benefits of Good Auto Repair

Benefits of Auto Repair Adrian MIRegular auto repair maintenance is good for your car, and good for other reasons as well. When you have car maintenance done on a regular schedule, you could see a cost savings in repairs needed, and it can make your car last longer.

Cars that have been maintained well usually use less gas, run better and drive smoother. Because of this, the driver can react faster in emergency situations, because the car was maintained properly and responds like it is supposed to.

Simple things make a difference, like proper fluid levels and a clean air filter. But, there are other tips that can improve driver safety because following a good auto repair schedule.

Use the proper fuel for your car – trying to economize and fill up with a lower grade fuel can cause problems in the engine. Better quality gasoline acts as a protector for your engine, plus it helps the car start better in most weather conditions.

Don’t overdo the comforts – turning on your air conditioner when the weather begins to warm up may be tempting, but the more you use that, the harder your engine works, and the more gas you’ll use. Enjoy the fresh air of an open window until the weather gets unbearably hot.

Schedule regular visits – preventative maintenance is usually much more affordable than major repairs later, so schedule regular visits when the car needs maintenance. Prolonging something routine could cause problems later that can become more costly to repair or dangerous for driving. Keep yourself and your passengers safe by following a proper maintenance schedule.

Finally, use qualified auto repair technicians. Even though your co-worker’s son is learning how to work on cars, that doesn’t mean you should trust his skill level on something you trust your family in. Use an auto repair shop that is qualified to handle your car, and can keep track of its history. Affordable Towing and Auto Repair in Adrian, MI is qualified to work on any type of car, and will keep yours running well!

Tire Maintenance – Simple Auto Repair Tips That Save Lives

Tire Maintenance Auto Repair Adrian MIWinter snow and ice cause a lot of damage to pavement and parking lots, and the spring thaw can be just as hazardous to car tires and suspension, requiring extensive auto repairs that might be avoided. Changing seasons affect your vehicle, so here are a few tire maintenance tips that can make a difference this season.

Check the tire pressure – accidents can happen when the tire pressure isn’t correct on your car or truck. It makes handling more difficult, and the response of the vehicle is compromised when critical measurements are up to standard. Know the proper tire pressure for your car tires, and keep in mind the weight of the car, the weight of any cargo being hauled, and the condition of the road. Cold temperatures affect accurately measuring the tire pressure.

Balance and alignment make a difference – if you have to inflate your tires frequently, you could have a leak; or your tires might be out of balance or out of alignment. This can also cause the tire to wear unevenly, which will make it wear out faster.

Check the treads – those little grooves in the tire serve a purpose, and they should be maintained at the proper level; your life could depend on it! Adequate tread coverage around the entire tire is important, without worn spots or thin treads near the outer edges. These indicate problems that need to be addressed. Analyzing the tread will tell you if the tire is still in good shape, or if it needs to be replaced.

Rotation is important – when you rotate the tires on a regular basis, you give them a chance to wear evenly for the conditions of the car. Proper rotation follows a specific pattern, so check with your auto repair shop to get it done correctly.

Some auto repairs are part of regular, routine maintenance or inspection, and tire maintenance is just as important as changing the oil or the air filter.

What Color is Your Car’s Smoke?

With all the emission requirements and restrictions on cars now, you probably don’t notice much smoke coming from your exhaust. But, this is one place to pay attention to determine if something is wrong with your car. Three different exhaust colors are warning signs of different problems with your car, so get it checked right away when you notice this, before the problem escalates to an expensive repair.

Bluish Colored Smoke, usually accompanied by a burning oil stink, is a good indication of oil leaking into your engine, which isn’t good. A reputable auto repair technician can determine right away if the problem is leaking valve seals, a stuck PVC valve, worn piston rings, or worn cylinder walls.

Black Smoke is an indication that your car is running with a low air-to-fuel ratio, and needs some adjustments. Your auto mechanic will look at three areas for this – a clogged fuel line, a fuel pressure regulator that’s stuck, or leaking fuel injectors.

White Smoke – different than the smoke you see from your exhaust on a cold winter day. White smoke often means you have an internal coolant leak, which could lead to a blown head gasket, a cracked cylinder head, or a cracked engine block.

A car that runs well is like your body that is healthy – all systems are functional without any unusual noises or signals. If your car needs help, call a qualified auto mechanic who can review the symptoms and run a computer diagnosis to determine the right repair.

 

Car Maintenance is Important for Vacation Trips

Changing seasons and warmer weather bring vacation plans for many families, and regular car maintenance can help reduce repair problems while on the road. Getting ready for a vacation takes a lot of planning – what to pack, where to go, who to visit, what to eat – and it should also include a quick stop in your trusted auto repair shop before you leave.

Unfortunately, not everybody follows a schedule of regular car maintenance, but if you’re getting ready to travel, it’s important to have systems checked over for safety and functionality.

A qualified car mechanic will conduct a full vehicle inspection, while giving special attention to proper fluid levels, tire pressure and safety features. If you will be driving to hotter or colder climate areas, he can also recommend whether different types of fluids will be necessary for your trip.

Normal wear and tear of filters, belts, and hoses may not seem critical when you’re staying around town. However, if you’re driving hundreds or thousands of miles, it may be better to replace a belt or hose early if it is showing early warning signs of needing new parts.

Finally, your trusted auto mechanic will make sure everything is operating safely for your trip, including lights, blinkers, and brakes. There is nothing worse than driving down a steep incline, only to discover that your brakes are failing. The auto repair shop that you frequently visit will have a record of past repairs, and will recommend when parts should be replaced.

Take the time now for regular auto maintenance to prepare your car, van or truck so that you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about breaking down on the road.

 

Best Practices for Saving Money on Car Maintenance

Regular car maintenance is ideal for the longevity of your vehicle, and it helps ensure reliability and safety while on the road. But, when the budget is tight, here are some ways of saving money on regular car maintenance.

Watch your car tires

Make sure your tire pressure is correct, and check it frequently, especially when the temperature changes frequently. A week with the thermometer dipping low followed by a sudden day or two of warming may make a difference in your tire’s pressure or performance. Follow the recommended guidelines and inflate the tires properly. Also, check the tread to be sure there is no unusual wear and tear, and that there is still sufficient tread in each tire.

Check car fluid levels

It isn’t enough to just put gas in the vehicle, you should also make sure the coolant levels and oil levels are filled properly, and that the oil is not old or dirty. Mark your calendar when the oil was last changed, and watch the mileage to make sure it is changed according to recommended schedules. Waiting too long between fluid changes can result in damage to the engine.

Keep track of repairs and costs

Car maintenance can be expensive if you aren’t relying on a single mechanic or auto repair shop for your regular needs. A reliable auto repair shop will develop a historical summary of your vehicle, the inspected systems and the recommended repairs over time. Your mechanic can also help you prioritize needed repairs, based on the severity of the situation and your budget constraints. Shopping around and switching mechanics frequently increases the risk of duplicate repair recommendations, or missed regular repairs, often resulting in higher repair bills.

Rely on a local expert

Find a good car mechanic and stick with the same person or the same repair shop. Trust and loyalty are important when it comes to expensive car repairs, and many repair shops appreciate their loyal customers and offer special discounts for repeat maintenance service.

It is possible to save money on car maintenance. If you are looking for a reliable auto repair shop with mechanics you can trust, give us a call at Affordable Towing and Auto Repair – we’ll take care of your car like it was our own.

 

Tips for Choosing a Reliable Mechanic for Your Car Repairs

Some people don’t look for a doctor until they need one. Others avoid finding the right dentist unless they have a tooth problem. Waiting until your car needs repairs isn’t the best time to go shopping for a reliable mechanic.

Whether you need emergency car repairs or are looking for regular auto maintenance, you may wonder how to find a good repair shop when you need one. Here are some quick tips for finding a reliable mechanic for your car repairs.

Referrals

Your friends, neighbors, and co-workers can probably give you great opinions and recommendations about various mechanics in the area. Understand the car repairs that they’ve needed, the type of service they received, and their impression of the mechanic as well as the rest of the staff.

Research

Find out how long the repair shop has been in business, how qualified and certified their technicians are, and if they offer any specialized services that you might need. Are their service bays frequently full with many types of repairs? That’s a good indication that they provide good service and are trusted for repeat business.

Readily-Available

Find out what hours a repair shop is open, and if they cater to extended hours or weekend hours. Car mechanics understand that people often work during normal business hours, and often adjust their schedules to offer repairs in the evenings and on the weekend.

Ask about payment arrangements – do they only accept cash, or is credit also an option? Some car repair shops offer discounts to regular customers, which is a good reason for finding a reliable mechanic and developing a loyal relationship with him.

Finally, don’t wait to find a repair shop until you need an emergency repair. Trusted auto mechanics develop a service history with each vehicle, and can advise you on upcoming repairs or replacement parts that may be needed. Find your favorite repair shop and stick with them so that your car is taken care of and you have confidence in a qualified team providing both maintenance and repair services.